‘Collective Mind’: Researchers Examine Social Effects of Watching the Same Thing Together

‘Collective Mind’: Researchers Examine Social Effects of Watching the Same Thing Together

More than 123 million people tuned in Sunday to watch the Kansas City Chiefs (and Taylor Swift) win the Super Bowl, making it the most-watched television program in history.

That's a useful gist Recently published research It examines how seeing the same thing can unite people.

This is known as the “theory of collective mind” and refers to the human ability to adopt a collective perspective.

Gary Steinberg, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, published research on the theory last year and recently expanded on the discipline. Works published last month.

“Theory of mind research has traditionally focused on attributing mental states to a single individual. We introduce a theory that attributes unified mental states.The theory of collective mind requires the unification of perspectives among agents, rather than distinguishing between an individual's perspective and the perspective of other agents.'' Berg et al. wrote in a research abstract last year.

“We review recent scholarship across cognitive science on the conceptual underpinnings of collective mind representations and their empirical guidance through the synchronous arrival of shared information. Research shows that collective mind representations , it has been suggested that it causes psychological amplification of stimuli between seatmates, creates interpersonal bonds between seatmates, and increases cooperative relationships.

In a paper last month, Steinberg pointed to the relevance of such research given the growing polarization and declining trust in institutions in the United States.

“Only about 1 in 4 Americans say they have confidence in our nation’s institutions in 2023; big business (1 in 7); TV news (1 in 7).” , Congress (1 in 12) is scraping at the bottom,” he wrote. .

“Political polarization is increasing while trust in institutions is declining. A majority of Republicans (72%) and Democrats (64%) say they like each other more than other Americans. views as immoral, which increased by nearly 30% from 2016 to 2022. When compared to similar democracies, the United States saw the largest increase in hostility toward opposing political parties over the past 40 years. I held you.”

In a situation where we can't agree on anything, Steinberg wonders, where does that leave us?

“When public trust and political consensus disappear, what remains? This question has been a question that I have been asking for the past 20 years as an academic trained in social anthropology, organizational science, and social cognition, and as a professor of psychology. “It has occupied my research for many years,” he said.

“Researchers don't have all the answers, but it appears that people can share experiences without public trust or consensus. Whether it's watching spelling bees or watching a football game, But if “we” can witness it together, “we” still exist. ”

Steinberg went on to explain that he and his colleagues have been driven to explore “the foundations of the collective mind,” and that what they study in the lab is “the fundamentals of shared attention. , an example of how people experience the world with others.

These experiments emphasize the value of “shared experiences,” he says, which “amplify adults' psychological and behavioral responses to the world.”

“My colleagues and I both find that when we pay attention in sync with others, we have stronger memories, more I realized that deeper emotions, stronger motivations are created. Studies have shown that words are more memorable when we see them together, we feel sadder when we watch sad movies together, and we feel sadder when we focus together on a common goal. “We find that the effort we put into that pursuit increases. By paying attention to the behavior of others, we can imitate that behavior more,” he says.

“Importantly, the people who are going through something with you don't have to be physically present. In some experiments participants sit next to each other, but in other studies We believe that participants come together from different laboratories or even from all over the country. No matter where they are, they can do something at the same time compared to being alone or on their own schedules. The feeling of being 'involved with' the experience amplifies the experience.”

Steinberg cites two examples of different sizes as important examples of the shared experiences of Americans who are increasingly isolated in a society that increasingly conducts business online: going to the movies in theaters and watching the Super Bowl. I'm talking about appreciation.

“Before the Internet, Americans widely shared their interests. They watched the same night's news together, even if they didn't always agree on whether it was good or bad. “Today, with people's interests fragmented into media silos, there are more obstacles than ever to sharing interests with people with whom we disagree,” he says. “Yet, even if we can no longer agree on what 'we' believe, paying attention to the basic sights and sounds of our world unites us. These moments can be relatively small, like watching a movie in the theater, or large, like watching the Super Bowl. But it's important to remember that we share such experiences with Americans of all political persuasions. ”

David B.
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